Strong passwords are Important

Everyone hates them. We have them for everything, it seems. Whether it is for your bank, your office PC, or even a Domino’s Pizza web site – you need a password. Because you need them for so many things, why not have a simple one to make it easy every time you need to use it? But wait – these passwords are kind of important. Think about what they are protecting. Even your pizza web account might have your credit card on file. But more importantly, there might be sensitive data on that office PC. You don’t want that exposed to anyone, do you? Consider the fact that all of our computers and all of our web site accounts are on the Internet all of the time. Anyone from anywhere has the ability to quickly and easily get to these places over the Internet. That password is the lock preventing unauthorized access. How strong do you want that lock? Consider also that there are powerful tools that can quickly crack the password by attempting many possible combinations. The longer and more complex your password is, the less likely these tools can crack the combination. Check out this web site – It’s very simple and actually kind of fun to see how secure a password is by typing it into the field. As you type, it will show you how long it will take for current, conventional cracking methods to figure out your password. You will notice that the more you type, and the more complex the character combinations, the longer it will take. But passwords are not always enough. Many financial institutions are taking extra steps with additional security, such as two-factor authentication. A common method for this is when you log in with your password, the web site immediately sends you a text page to your phone with a code. You then enter the code as a second step to successfully login to the web site. Because if a hacker attempted to login to your site, and the text page goes to your phone, they will never be able to complete that second step.

Our recommendation is to make a very secure password for critical and sensitive computers and web sites, and also have a second password that is still secure but maybe a little easier to remember. Use the web site to help you. And consider changing these passwords no longer than once per year. Also, when available, use two-factor authentication for web sites that have very sensitive and private information.

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